Posted by Benjamin Webb on Jul 11, 2012

Parrot Zik Officially Announced For Aus

The Zik is the first telephony and audio device released by the company Parrot and are designed by the brilliant Philipe Starck. The headphones themselves are being pegged as state-of-the-art devices that include a unique touch panel, head detection sensors, spatial audio, voodoo and a plethora of other features. Be sure to check out our full impressions with our hands-on preview here.

It seems that the Zik is hoping to create a more humanised musical image. This is evidenced by the following statement (taken from the official press release) -

Music: a “humanised” musical image…
• A natural musical image
Listening to music should be a harmonious and profound experience so with Zik, Parrot has focused on the sound creation for the ultimate listening experience.
These headphones are thus equipped with powerful DSP (Digital Signal Processing) algorithms that build a natural melodic image. This is the ‘Parrot Concert Hall’ algorithm: rather than being heard from right and left, the music is ‘placed’ in front of you, recreating the acoustics of a concert hall for a much more natural listening experience – the sensation of a thumping room is over!
A free application for iOS or Android allows the user to define the parameters of the ‘Parrot Concert Hall’ effects.
• Active Noise Cancelling (Parrot patented)
Insistent, muffled or direct… In a plane, on a train or in the street… Noise is everywhere.
To be able to block out the surrounding noise, Parrot engineers have developed a patented, high performance active noise cancelling technology which eliminates up to 25db, giving uncompromising listening comfort, even in extreme conditions.

How does it work?
Two microphones, located on the external part of the headset, capture surrounding noises. Two other microphones –one in each headset- analyse residual noises (low frequencies) that could disrupt the listening. The analysed noise outside is thus cancelled by opposite acoustic waves (noise cancelling) to create a silent environment.

Another brilliant feature is that the device is able to receive calls through the headphones. Evidence is here -

Hands-free telephony: Conversation, without compromise…
Parrot Zik enables the user to receive or answer phone calls, hands-free. It offers both the user and the person on the other end of the line the ability to have a conversation with exceptional sound quality, even in the noisiest of environments.

Parrot Zik is equipped with two technologies, which work together to cancel out the surrounding noise in order to keep only the voice.
• Bone Conduction Sensor
This sensor, located in the cushion of the left earpiece, detects and analyses jaw bone vibrations and compares them to the all the surrounding noise. By matching the users’ movements with their speech, Parrot Zik is able to extract and separate the speech from the surrounding noise.
• Active Noise Reduction (Parrot patented)
Two microphones record the sound and determine its direction, in real time. The digital signal processor of the Zik can then determine the origin of the unwanted noise and eliminate it.

How does it work?
Thanks to high quality Neodynium magnets, the Parrot Zik gives a very powerful and very subtle sound with a frequency from 10Hz to 20kHz and a sensibility from 110dB SPL per volt to 1kHz.

The device is also incredibly comfortable. This is because of it’s ergonomic design -

An ergonomic innovation…
Designed as an extension of the Smartphone, Parrot Zik puts usability at the heart of technological innovation.

• Capacitive panel
Access to the Zik’s functionality is super intuitive thanks to a touch panel, like those of Smartphones, which is located on the entire surface of the right headset. Move one finger vertically to control the volume. Move one finger horizontally to launch the next or previous music track. During a phone call there is no need to look for your Smartphone, just tap on the right hand side of the headphones to answer a call or touch the panel for two seconds to reject it. Simple.
• Head detection
A simple movement is enough to pause the music: just remove the Zik from your head and place it around your neck. Replace the Zik on your head and the music plays again.

The Zik is also supposed to be an extension of the human body. This is with it’s organic line feature -

Organic lines…
While drawing the organic lines of the Parrot Zik, Philippe Starck has illustrated the “biology-inspired” technologies which Parrot engineers had developed.
Parrot Zik is a ‘fused’ object full of sensors. The Zik merges with the body, like a technological extension of you listening to music. The Zik reveals your emotions.

“Despite its simple and humble design, Zik is certainly today one of our most successful products in terms of intuitive ergonomics,” says Philippe Starck. “The headphones are perfectly balanced and almost seem fused looking like a mere extension of the human body and all its needs. Sound, and consequently music, are just a search of one’s own world. The more the sound is close to you, the more you’ll like the music and feel comfortable. An object like this is a universe.”

The materials of Parrot Zik were carefully selected. The surface of the ear cups (matt black and soft to the touch) expresses the sensuality of the skin. Two steel-like ‘commas’ underline the skeleton of the headphones. The adjustable headband provides a contrast between metal alloys and “leather-like” band.

And lastly the device is compatible with a plethora of devices. Evidenced thus -

Multi-compatibility…
An extension of Smartphones and tablets, Parrot Zik is equipped with the latest wireless technology. The Parrot Zik is compatible with all brands of mobile phones available on the market and works with a large number of music sources: audio with Bluetooth stereo or via a three-point mini jack cable for the connection to audio and video systems. (E.g. aeroplane headphone ports.)

The Parrot Zik also integrates NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to allow simple Bluetooth pairing, thanks to a tag located on the left headset. A first for headphones!

“What we create at Parrot is primarily driven by software ideas. Parrot is a company of engineers who have worked for years on ‘spatialisation’, giving with Zik a much more natural ambience to music than any other headphones,’ says Henri Seydoux. “The headphone is virtually one of the most difficult things that we have ever imagined because it is, in some way, the most banal.”

The device also comes with the following features -

The Parrot Zik works with a Li-Ion battery rechargeable with USB /micro USB cable.
The headphones come with:

  • 1 Li-Ion battery (800mAh, 24h autonomy)
  • 1 USB/micro USB cable
  • 1 three-point mini jack cable
  • 1 protective pouch

The Parrot Zik headphones are looking like an amazing device. Be sure to check out the official website for more info.

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